Microsoft has recently announced its plans to add an automatic Do Not Track feature to the newest version of Internet Explorer. Until now, users would have to choose to enable the Do Not Track feature. On Version 10, Do Not Track is a default setting. Ironically, the Do Not Track feature isn’t acknowledged by Microsoft’s ad network. In other words, even when users choose to enable the feature in their browsers, they are still tracked.
There are advertisers who do not agree with Microsoft’s decision. They are of the belief that since Microsoft has aided in the development of Do Not Track standards, it agreed that this should not be a default feature. In fact, many advertisers are expected to make a choice to ignore any Do Not Track indicators.
There are also those who believe that Microsoft’s decision to make Do Not Track a default setting is a portion of the company’s plan to hurt Google’s successful online advertising. In fact, to try to compete with Google, Microsoft at one time tried to purchase Yahoo.
The announcement by Microsoft came as a surprise to many. The World Wide Web Consortium is developing Do Not Track policies. According to Aleecia M. McDonald, who is co-chair of that agency’s Tracking Protection Working Group, the organization didn’t know there was going to be an announcement of this kind until actually it happened.
Ms. McDonald, who is also a privacy researcher with Mozilla, sees Microsoft’s action as a reason to come to a determination on the issue now, rather than wait for a later date. Alex Fowler, Mozilla’s privacy and public policy lead person does not agree with Microsoft’s plan. He references the World Wide Web Consortium’s latest Do Not Track report that states that in order for Do Not Track to work, it must be based on users’ preferences. Making it a default setting would take the control out of the end users’ hands. In fact, Fowler wrote in a blog post, “If DNT is on by default, it’s not a conversation. For DNT to be effective, it must actually represent the user’s voice.”Anonymous Browsing, Anonymous Surfing, internet browser, Internet Privacy, Internet Safety